Posted by Kelly on July 17th, 2012
I write about all the good stargazing events that can be seen each month, but for a variety of reasons there are many of them I never get to see myself. But as far as predawn observing events are concerned, there is really just one reason I don’t see them: I like my sleep. I am not a morning person, and while I have, on occasion, woken in the middle of the night to look for meteor showers, by and large I find that my sleep and mental health the next day are more important.
But recently I was able to catch an absolutely gorgeous early morning conjunction through no planning of my own. About a week ago, I came home from some activity or other to find my cat sitting in front of the stove and staring very intently underneath it. I knew at that point that a mouse had gotten in the house, because the same thing had happened once before. I turned the kitchen lights off and went into the living room as the cat and I waited for the mouse to make its move. It wasn’t much later that I heard my cat tearing across the wood floor, his claws fully engaged, as he chased the mouse around. He ended up catching and releasing the mouse a couple times before it skittered under the couch. I opened the outside door and, after looking for shoes and a broom, came back to the scene. I didn’t see if the mouse ever got away but my cat decided it wanted to go out. Whether to follow the mouse or for new hunting targets, I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t worry too much about the mouse after that because I figured if it was still in the house, my cat would pick up its trail again and I would know. Around 4 a.m. on July 15, I was rudely awakened when my cat started running in circles on my bed like it was chasing something. I hopped out of bed and turned the lights on, but I never saw anything. I don’t think there was really anything there. He was either being playful or had just had a dream about his recent adventure that seemed real on waking, but either way, I was now fully awake.
Because there were reports that an aurora could occur overnight, I figured I’d go downstairs and have a look. But before I even got a glimpse to the north, the Moon in the east caught my eye. Out the window beyond my backyard glowed a beautiful crescent Moon with a bright light above it and an even brighter light below it. I knew these to be Jupiter and Venus, respectively. Even though it was around 4:30, the sky was already lightening with dawn. The light blue of the sky was washing out fainter stars, but one star made itself known just above Venus. Aldebaran made the trio look more like four points in a parallelogram.
I grabbed my camera and went outside to take some pictures. With the shutter depressed for just a few seconds, the camera was able to pick up the entire V-shape of the Hyades in Taurus. It was a beautiful scene on a quiet and still morning, and I was glad that my cat had provided me with the opportunity to see it.
3 people have commented
August 16th, 2012 @ 1:53 am
Thanks for a great story.
September 21st, 2012 @ 4:36 pm
Are you a Witch”
or versed in the Occult Arts?
if not you shud be
October 17th, 2012 @ 4:47 pm
Hello Kelly, I like you stories very much,as I can feel like you do….open eye for the real wonders keep it coming !